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Visa’s New Investment Project: Promoting Generative AI in Payments & Commerce

Boaz Gam

Boaz Gam


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4 min
Article content
  1. What Is Generative AI?
  2. What Is Visa’s New Initiative All About?
  3. Visa’s History of AI-Based Developments
  4. How Will the Initiative Be Moving Forward?

Unpacking Visa’s New Generative AI Investment Initiative

Over the past years, we have witnessed the term “generative AI” quickly become a buzzword. Artificial intelligence is now being actively integrated into virtually every sphere of life, with commerce and payments being no exception. From chatbots and fraud detection to personalized marketing and dynamic pricing, businesses are sure to continue opting for AI-based solutions.

With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that payment industry giants are actively hopping on the generative AI trend. For instance, Visa, one of the world’s biggest payment card services corporations, recently announced a groundbreaking initiative. The company is set to invest $100 million in generative AI ventures. Read ahead to find out everything you need to know about it!

What Is Generative AI?

Unpacking Visa’s New Generative AI Investment Initiative

Before we delve into the details of Visa’s new initiative, let’s take a moment to recap what exactly generative AI is.

In a nutshell, it is a promising subset of artificial intelligence. It leverages Large Language Models (LLMs) to create artificial general intelligence that has the capability of generating text, images, and other types of content using vast sets of existing data as prompts.

New-generation tools based on this technology are already enabling employees to spend less time on mundane activities at the workplace and focus on more important tasks. These solutions also boast human-level analytical capabilities, which help businesses achieve their critical objectives more efficiently.

What Is Visa’s New Initiative All About?

Unpacking Visa’s New Generative AI Investment Initiative

On October 2, 2023, Visa published a press release that announced the launch of its new initiative. According to the statement, this project aims to provide funding and support for companies dedicated to advancing generative AI technologies.

In the announcement, Jack Forestell, the Chief Product and Strategy Officer at Visa, shared his beliefs regarding generative AI’s perspectives beyond the current tasks centered around content creation. He explained that this technology is on the verge of significantly improving our lifestyle and professional landscape as well as accelerating meaningful changes in commerce.

The initiative is set to be implemented by Visa Ventures. It is Visa’s global corporate investment division that has a history of investing in companies at the forefront of payments and commerce innovation since 2007.

David Rolf, who serves as the Head of Visa Ventures, expressed his enthusiasm for expanding the investment focus to generative AI. He emphasized its potential as one of the most transformative modern-day technologies and shared his excitement for working with disruptive and innovative startups linked to commerce and payments.

Visa’s History of AI-Based Developments

Unpacking Visa’s New Generative AI Investment Initiative

Visa’s press release regarding the generative AI venture initiative has created a lot of buzz, with many prominent industry players agreeing that it is a promising opportunity for aspiring payment startups and commerce as a whole. This is not only due to the fact that the reputation of Visa as a company speaks for itself but also because of its successful AI-related projects in the past.

In fact, Visa has been at the forefront of integrating AI into the world of payments as early as 1993. That year, the company deployed an AI-based risk and fraud management system.

In 2021, Visa introduced VisaNet +AI, which is an innovative suite of AI-powered services designed to address common challenges financial institutions face when managing account balances and daily settlement processes.

One of the key components of the VisaNet +AI suite is Smarter Stand-In Processing, the goal of which is to enhance payment experiences during service disruptions by replicating issuer approval decisions. Additionally, the suite features Smarter Posting, a tool that optimizes consumer payment processes and significantly reduces the confusion caused by posting delays.

What’s more, Visa launched a real-time payment fraud monitoring solution, Visa Advanced Authorization in 2022. This tool has already successfully prevented approximately $27 billion worth of fraudulent transactions.

This impressive track record clearly reflects Visa’s ongoing commitment to harnessing the power of AI to streamline payment processes, reduce fraud, and improve overall user experiences.

How Will the Initiative Be Moving Forward?

Unpacking Visa’s New Generative AI Investment Initiative

According to David Rolf, Visa Ventures has a high degree of flexibility when it comes to the number of investments it plans to make from its new fund and does not have a fixed size of the average funding sums.

However, he mentioned that, given the early stage of the generative AI industry, the company expects to make multiple smaller investments in the range of a few million dollars. With that said, Visa Ventures still possesses the capacity to make more substantial investments if there is a strong rationale for doing so.

It is also worth mentioning that Visa is particularly interested in supporting companies that are leveraging generative AI to address pressing issues in the fields of commerce, payments, and fintech.

Visa Ventures is open to collaborating with companies operating at various levels of the stack, from the ones specializing in data organization for generative AI to those shaping user experiences in professional or personal settings. However, it is critical for the industry giant to only fund companies that are willing to adhere to responsible AI usage, aligning with Visa’s established policies.

Overall, Visa aims to serve as a key enabler for companies tackling the next wave of challenges in advancing commerce. While its new funding initiative is only taking its first steps, it is already plain to see that it will create a fertile ground for a plethora of exciting and potentially game-changing generative AI-based projects!

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